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Potpourri

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As strolling minstrel at Grove Park Inn

Kira Bursky - Strolling Minstrel at Grove Park Inn.jpg
Photo Credit: Jay Bursky

Samantha Mills by Erik Danielson
Samantha Mills  Photo Credit: Erik Danielson

Samantha Mills recently moved from North Carolina to Los Angeles.  In North Carolina she had built up a reputation as a model and actor working mostly in the southeast.  The move to L.A. was a career move but not for the reason you might think.  It was a better opportunity for her day job.  She explained that she would kind of be starting over in Los Angeles with her acting and modeling.  I'm sure she will find lot's of opportunity there.

As a model, Samantha's good looks and svelte frame have helped her get jobs such as photo layouts in magazines, advertisements for companies such as Belk and Pepsi, and placements to sell everything from jewelry and shoes to cars and insurance.  In modeling, and to some extent in acting, she considers herself a salesperson.  Whether it is selling the product, the concept, or the character she says that's what she's there to do.  After thinking about it for a while I understood what she meant.  She sold me.

Coming up Samantha will be starring in a film called Honeyspider written by Kenny Caperton and directed by Josh Hasty.  It is a cool thriller movie that is currently in post-production and is due for release later this year.
Samantha Mills - Cover Fort Mill Magazine
Samantha Mills Cover
Image Courtesy: Fort Mill Magazine



Samantha Mills in Honeyspider
Samantha Mills in Honeyspider  Photo Courtesy: HoneyspiderMovie.com


John Cullum & William Sadler.jpgWriters are often told to write what you know.  Miles Doleac takes it a couple of steps further.  He writes, directs, and acts what he knows in The Historian.

Miles is an assistant professor at the University of Southern Mississippi. His specialty is in the Classics Department. I recently had a conversation with Miles and Tamarah Murley about the movie and here is what I found.  The story was influenced by his witnessing of the dumbing down of education because of administrative constraints and the Common Core Standards Initiative  that has been in the news so much lately.

This is his directorial debut but being an accomplished theatre and film actor he knew what he was getting into.  He had help with his long time friend and theatre director Mackenzie Westmoreland who helped him produce the movie but also had never worked in film before.  


"This script is a gift to actors."- Glynnis O'Connor, on The Historian


To make the movie the best it could be he brought on board some of the finest actors he could get. 
Casting William Sadler as the university history department head Valerian Hadley,  along with Tamarah Murley as his secretary Jill who wants to keep the office running smoothly and without turmoil.  John Cullum plays Valerian's aging father in the movie.  You may remember John from the TV series Northern Exposure.  A theatre veteran as well as film, he has won 2 Tony Awards for his acting performances.

In this movie Miles plays history professor Ben Rhodes, who has just moved to a  university where he doesn't exactly get along with his boss, Valerian Hadley, the head of the department.  Valerian does not make it easy for Ben, though I think he see's something of himself in the young professor.  They are also at odds over Anna (Jillian Taylor), who is one of Valerian's favorite grad students and a love interest of Ben.

Colin Cunningham & Glynnis O'Connor.jpg
Also appearing is an actor I've admired for many years ever since I saw her in a TV production of the play Our Town is Glynnis O'Connor.  I'm glad to find her in this movie.   As Dean Jan Messer she must weigh the arguments of all involved. To do what's best for the school in spite of Ben's conflict with Valerian, and his ideas about teaching and how the school should be run.

As I mentioned earlier Miles is an actor in the theatre.  He just finished a very successful run of Les Misérables at the Saenger Theatre in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.  The musical got held over an extra day for an encore performance.  That's what you like to hear.

This movie has everything you might expect to encounter in a college setting: drama, relationships, happy, sad, and funny.  Sure to be a hit you'll not want to miss.


Miles Doleac as Ben Rhodes .JPG
Check out the trailer below and read the conversation with Miles and Tamarah.

Sometimes a person is compelled to do what is instinctive to them.  That is the case with Lilly Nelson.  She has been acting as far back as she can remember as a little girl, kindergarten or even before.  Even as a kid she was making up plays and doing little films with her friends and family.  Apparently her father, who is an art director, helped influence her  creativity.

At home on both stage and screen, it doesn't matter as long as she's acting.  No prima donna she likes to be involved whether it's in front of the camera or behind the scenes.  She will help with a production any way she can.  One specialty she has is helping actors with different dialects as well as teaching acting.

Lilly Nelson - Tracy Page/Babycakes Studios
Lillly Nelson  Photo credit: Tracy Page/Babycakes Studios

"Lilly has breathed life into Betty and given her more depth than we even imagined. She is a true artist."  - Christine Parker Director of Fix It In Post


Currently she is starring in Closer Patrick Marber that she has been wanting to do for many years.   Lilly is producing the play along with the Burning Coal Theatre Company.  Directed by Paul Sapp it stars Lilly along with  Miles Dwight Snow, Laurel Ullman, and Brian Fisher  It will be playing through this weekend in Raleigh, North Carolina.  

Lilly recently finished a part in the film Fix It In Post which is a campy, over the top story about what a film crew does to survive after an electromagnetic pulse knocks out the power around the world.  She plays Betty the slate girl who has eyes for the director.  A movie about people making a movie, trying to use their filmmaking skills to survive a disaster.

Not afraid to get her hands dirty she relishes playing the villain and taking parts that others might not want to consider such as the lonely woman in Kami that has lost her lover.

Lilly has several other things coming up including a part as Lieutenant Victoria Xen in  Sciencstars, a TV series for kids about science.  In Deadroom she is a German mercenary/assassin named Helga, adding to her list of villainous and antagonistic roles.  She plays a drugged out mother  In 12 Dog Days of Christmas that is about a troubled teen boy that learns a lesson about the spirit of Christmas.

A Carolina girl, she works most frequently in area between Charlotte and Raleigh, and prefers to live in North Carolina  because it is home, but is ready to go anywhere she is called to for a new production.

See Lilly in the short film Kami below by William K. Gerard and read the conversation we had about her acting career.

English: Claudia McNeil in A Raisin in the Sun...

Claudia McNeil in A Raisin in the Sun - trailer (cropped screenshot) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Raisin in the Sun is one of the great American plays and was written by Lorraine Hansberry  when she was in her late 20s. 

Comprised of an ensemble cast where every actor contributes significantly to outcome of the performance. All of the main characters are well developed and each has a story to tell from their own perspective. It is amazing how Lorraine had the experience, much less the wisdom, to craft such an inspiring story of the human condition at such a young age.  Sadly she died in 1965 at the age of 34.

If you've never seen this play I urge you to try to whether it be at a community theatre, college, or even on film.  There are frequent productions of it running in every part of the  country.  It is currently playing on Broadway in a new revival at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre where it was first performed in 1959.  

This  production stars Denzel Washington, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Anika Noni Rose, and Sophie Okenedo.  In their conversation with Charlie Rose below they discuss what it's like to perform the play and what each character means to them.

The Mineola Twins

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MineolaTwins.jpgCongratulations to the cast and crew of The Mineola Twins playing now through Sunday at Winthrop University as a part of Rock Hill's Come See Me Week.

It is a story of two young women, identical twins, who long to leave Mineola for bigger things.  Riley Ketchum shines playing the parts of both Myrna and Myra. Bridgette Smith has a strong and comical performance as Jim in the first acts and Sarah in the latter part of the play. Not to be outdone, Rodrick Freitas is outstanding as Kenny and Ben.  

The play starts out with Jenn Fant as The Voice who hauntingly narrates the dream sequences that appear throughout the play. Her and the ensemble: Sydney Bertsch, Jesse Pritchard, Nora Webb, and LaShawn Woolridge illustrate what's happening in the dream sequences as well as appearing as individual characters later in the play.

This is  a comedy with a serious subtext to it covering the periods from the Eisenhower era to the Nixon and Bush Sr. administrations.  Myra and Myrna are as different as night and day and are never in agreement as siblings sometimes are.  No one is perfect though as you will learn.  

There were many sets used throughout the play that were well designed with a modern look while being  simple and effective at projecting the style of the play and being the perfect backdrop for the performers.  The sound design and lighting emphasized what was happening onstage very well and the acoustics and sound in the auditorium was spectacular.  This helped create the magic of The Mineola Twins.


Map of South Carolina highlighting Greenville ...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Acting classes for adullts and kids/teens being February 5th at Jade Castle Studios in Greenville, South Carolina.  The classes are limited to 10 students and you must register by January 31st.

Taught by veteran actor  Ron Joseph.

Wednesday Feburary 5th thru April 23rd at Jade Castle Studios.
6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

More information at:
One of Tweetsie Railroad's two steam locomotiv...

One of Tweetsie Railroad's two steam locomotives, 2-8-2 #190, on May 20th, 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tweetsie Railroad, located between Boone and Blowing Rock, North Carolina, is seeking entertainers for their 2014 season.

They are needing singers, dancers, actors, equestrians, magicians, and specialty acts.


2014 Local Auditions
January 25 & 26
9:00 am Registration / Auditions begin at 10:00 am
I.G. Greer Hall
Appalachian State University
401 Academy Street
Boone, NC


Potpourri

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KiraBursky by Abbey Sacks.jpg
Photo and Makeup by Abbey Sacks

Meme Simmons Loves Theatre

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Meme Simmons HS1.jpgThe theatre is something special.  Meme Simmons knows that.  She was drawn to it as a child.  First singing in the choir at age four then performing in high school plays for five years since she did her first musical with the high school when she was still in the eighth grade.


From high school she went straight to college in New York City.  Eventually landing roles in off-broadway productions and touring companies.


Now she's back in her hometown bringing her theatrical talent to the people of Jacksonville, North Carolina.  Here she has established Debbie's Angels Productions to produce shows and teach acting with the help of her relatives and friends.


In Jacksonville she has helped produce a musical at Southwest High School and directed theatre classes for the city's Parks and Recreation Department.  Debbie's Angels produced a musical called Broadway After Dark last year and has plans for two more adult performances this year and one for kids.



Christopher and Kayli Tolleson: A Family Affair

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ChristopherKayli.jpgKayli and Christopher Tolleson may not be old enough to drive, but they are driven!  This brother and sister are prepared to take the acting world by storm!   Kayli, after hitting the scene about 3 years ago, has been in one thing after another. Which of course makes Mom and Dad very happy, but also sends them into planning-mode. Taking care of the details.


With one gig here, another there, these kids are quickly making it known, we're here, we're amazing, and you're going to love us! 


In this interview, the whole family opens up about what it takes to get started in the film/print/stage industry at a young age. Dave and Janna explain what it takes for parents to make their child's dream happen, and also keep that special bond that is family. It is very clear from the time I spent with them, this family means show business!


KayliChristopher.jpg

Joe Burnette.jpg
Ghost Light Productions is the first professional theatrical production company in Rock Hill, South Carolina.  Their first production will be In the Spirit of Christmas coming in December.  The shows executive producer is Joe Burnette, an actor who studied at Playhouse West.  Catherine Allen, who we wrote about in Cahterine Allen Does Fillm and Fashion is co-producer and an actor as well. 

Good luck with Ghost Light Productions and I hope everyone in the Charlotte, NC/Rock Hill, SC areas will show their support for your company and In the Spirit of Christmas.

Bring your family and come celebrate the holidays with Ghost Light Productions as it presents, In the Spirit of Christmas, a feel good show the way Christmas was long ago.


Potpourri

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At the Carolina Theatre in Durham, NC

Robert Filion - Carolina Theatre.jpg

Jackson Ross.jpgJackson Ross is equally at home on screen or in the theatre, having taken to the stage in plays such as Midsummer Night's Dream, and Oedipus Rex.  A busy man, he has worn may  hats such as  film producer, director, writer, as well as being an actor.  In some of the films he's involved in, Jackson often plays the cop or wiseguy but he also likes roles that challenge his range.

Originally from Kinston, North Carolina he wound up in Miami via Minnesota.  In Minneapolis he had his first brush with movies while working as an extra in Drop Dead Gorgeous.  That's when he first  became interested in film.  While still in Minnesota Jackson produced films of both stage plays and screenplays.   He also met his wife Karuna Sun when she auditioned for a film he was working on.

From Minneapolis they headed to Miami where Karuna was urged to come for modeling work.  Jackson's first job in Florida  was playing a Russian thug in Burn Notice.  Ready to go anywhere he's looking to come back to North Carolina for some of the productions springing up in the area.   Here is a conversation with Jackson about where acting has taken him.




UP CLOSE ~ MICHAEL BUBLE

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kristy Marett.jpg

English: Michael Buble walks the Red Carpet at...

Image by Dallas Bittle via Wikipedia

Kristy Marett is a singer, entertainer, and owner of Arts and Expressions - One Place For All Your Artistic Expressions! 


Michael Buble

Q:        Who has extraordinary musical talent, extraordinary good looks, extraordinary stage-presence as well as world renown, an extraordinary talent for turning classics into ultra-modern, an extraordinarily diverse fan-base, AND just came out with a Christmas album?

A:        YES! Michael Buble!

 

(Okay.... Big swoon!)

 

Michael Buble... he's the one with the silky voice, the one that hushes all women's conversations the moment one of his songs comes over the radio, the one who sells out every venue he books worldwide, the one who has the very best, youngest and hottest musicians around, both in studio and in his music videos... he's he one! (Move OVER, Frank Sinatra!)


children's day

Image by M@rg via Flickr

Considering allowing you child become a paid actor?  Make sure it's for the right reason.  Most child actors don't make very much money.  If the child is genuinely interested in acting and has a desire to learn, it can be a good thing.  

.It has it's costs too.  Headshots and acting classes aren't cheap.   If your child likes to act and you can support them in their interest the benefits can make it worthwhile.  Acting can help round them out intellectually, emotionally, and prepare them for situations later in life.  Just don't overdo it.

Read this article by Sarah Lindenfeld Hall that has a video of Terri Dollar of Kids Unlimited Talent Agency in Raleigh, North Carolina speaking about the subject.  Terri gives some good advice on what to expect and what to watch out for when your child becomes involved in acting.



   

Auditions - Rock Hill, SC

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The Edge Theatre Company will be auditioning for several productions coming up.

Director Jimmy Chrismon will be hosting auditions for Vortex on August 7 at 2 PM and August 9 at 6 PM.  The roles needed are: 2 men in their 20's or 30's. 

South Pointe High School
801 Neely Road
Rock Hill, SC  29730

Contact Jimmy Chrismon at jdchrismon@gmail.com or 803-389-6761.



The Rocky Horror Show
will also need actors of all shapes and sizes! Auditions will also be at South Pointe High School on August 21 at 2 PM and August 23 at 6 PM.

The following roles are available:

Usherette (Soprano)
Usherette (Alto)
Usherette (Tenor)
4-6 Phantoms
Criminologist (Narrator)
Janet Weiss
Brad Majors
Riff Raff
Magenta
Columbia
Frank N. Furter
Rocky (the creature)
Eddie (the delivery boy)
Dr. Everett Scott


Actors must be over 18.  For more information, visit http://www.theedgetheatre.org/
   
Alexz Johnson in a photoshoot picture taken fo...

Headshot of Alexz Johnson (Image by Geniusd402  via Wikipedia)


Looking to get an acting job?  You must have a good headshot and acting resume'.   Here are a couple of clips about each.  

When it comes to headshots there are two different camps.  One that says that the image should be plain and simple so the director or casting agent can see you as a blank slate and project the role onto you.  The other says that they can change your look and what the director wants to know is who is this person and what their personality is like.  

In fhte first clip Chris Frampton, a commercial photographer,  shows some examples of headshots and explains the need to project your persoality in your headshots.

The second clip is about the basics of writing a resume' from actor and writer Richard Rifkin.


Chicago Theater

Image by TonyTheTiger at en.wikipedia via Wikipedia


Acting Studio Chicago is holding a 3 day weekend class on auditioning skills.

  • On Camera Class
  • Voiceover Class
  • Monologue Class
  • Cold Reading Class
  • Chicago Market discussion with Dawn Gray from Gray Talent Group and Lindsay Glickstein from Grossman Jack Talent.
  • Wine and Cheese Networking

Audition Skills Workshop
Friday August 19th - Sunday August 21st
Acting Studio Chicago
10 W. Hubbard Street, Suite 2E
Chicago, IL 60654
312.527.4566

More information:

Registration:


   

The Tony Awards

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Neil Patrick Harris - CBS Comedies Premiere Pa...

Neil Patrick Harris (Image by Kristin Dos Santos via Wikipedia)

Last Sunday, The Tony Awards, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris put on a show.  And who better to put on a show than the top Broadway actors of the day.


And the winner please...
  • Best Play - War Horse
  • Best Musical - The Book of Mormon
  • Best Original Score - The Book of Mormon
  • Best Revival of a Play - The Normal Heart
  • Best Revival of a Musical - Anything Goes
  • Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play - Mark Rylance in Jerusalem
  • Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play - Frances McDormand in Good People
  • Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical - Norbert Leo Butz in Catch Me If You Can
  • Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical - Sutton Foster in Anything Goes
  • Best Direction of a Play - Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris for War Horse
  • Best Direction of a Musical - Casey Nicholaw and Trey Parker for The Book of Mormon
  • Best Choreography - Kathleen Marshall for Anything Goes
  • and the list goes on...